If there is going to be a Rapture, I believe that God will rapture His believers off of this earth sometime before the start of the 7 year Tribulation. I don’t think He will wait to the midpoint of the Tribulation where the Antichrist seats himself in the Temple proclaiming himself to be God and then starts all the persecution.
I feel the Antichrist will be fully revealed to the world at the beginning of the 7 year Tribulation when he enters into a peace treaty and covenant with Israel, and then allows them to start rebuilding their Temple so that he can eventually get into it at the midpoint of the Tribulation to proclaim himself to be God.
And remember the very first verse above, that the Antichrist cannot be revealed until "He" is taken out of the way. And when "He" is taken out of the way, then the Antichrist can be fully revealed to the rest of the world. And "He" in my opinion may be the Church or the Body of Believers that are living at the time of these events.
The other reason I think the Rapture will occur sometime before the start of the 7 year Tribulation is that the Antichrist is going to need some time to set things up. Once the Church is taken out, he will be free to start operating at full scale. The first thing he is going to do is convince and persuade the rest of the world to follow him and I feel he will do that by trickery and deception. If he starts the persecution too early on those who will not take his mark, he will risk not being able to gain full control of everything.
I feel he will first suck everyone in by peace and diplomacy and the promise of a better world. Then once he has enough of the nations on his side and the Jewish Temple is once more rebuilt, that will be the time that He will then go for all of the marbles. He will seat himself in the temple at the midpoint of the Tribulation, proclaim himself to be God, kill anyone who will not accept his mark, and will then seek total world domination and control. Think about this. This one man, through the power of Satan, will get a chance to have more power and control over the entire world than any other man has ever had during the entire course of our human history. This will be the ultimate ego trip for a power hungry human being.
I think that the last three and half years of the Tribulation is going to be the last and final history lesson from God to us. With the Church being taken out of the way so Satan and the Antichrist can operate at full force, I feel that God is going to show all of us how much terror, death and destruction humans and demons are capable of committing if given half the chance without God directly intervening.
In three and half years, Satan and the Antichrist are going to cause so much death and destruction on this earth, that Jesus Himself says that had these days not been shortened by God the Father Himself - that no flesh would have been saved! I really feel that Satan, if he knew he had the chance, would set up the entire scenario with the Antichrist to destroy the entire world through nuclear weaponry.
Satan already knows he is defeated. He knows he will eventually end up in the Lake of Fire and Brimstone forever and ever. He knows that this is his last chance for mass destruction and terror. He hates all humans and anything to do with God and heaven. If God would allow him anymore time than the three and half years, I really believe Satan would set the world up for mass destruction through nuclear weapons. He would then have the satisfaction that he literally destroyed the entire world before he goes to his final fate.
But thank God, He will not allow this scenario to go this far. But God is going to allow it to go far enough to teach us all a lesson that we will never ever forget. He is going to show us how quickly humans can be deceived by Satan and his demons, and the only thing that has kept this world in one piece for the last 6000 years has simply been the power and restraining force of God the Father Himself operating through the Holy Spirit.
Bottom line - there is only maximum life with God or maximum death without Him. The last three and half years in the Tribulation will show us what "maximum death" will really be like when God removes His Church off the face of this earth, and he then allows the Devil and the Antichrist to do what they want with the power that will be given to them.
After we watch and see all of these events unfold, we will never, ever want to forsake our God again. We
will come to the full realization that without God in our lives - that we can never have or find true happiness, joy, love, peace or fulfillment in our lives.
Without God in our lives, there is only eventual maximum death, and the last three and half years on this earth is going to prove that point once and for all to all of us. It will be the greatest history lesson that the world will ever receive, and something that we will never ever forget for the rest of our eternal lives.
Will there be a Rapture? You will each have to decide for yourselves on the way the above Scripture verses are worded. My conclusion, after putting all the above verses together like a "jigsaw puzzle," is that there will be a rapture, and that it will occur sometime before the beginning of the 7 year Tribulation.
I feel the Rapture is a "mystery" from God, and that it is "hidden" in the above verses. God does not want the rest of the unbelieving world to have full access to this mystery, otherwise people will be accepting salvation for the wrong reasons - to escape the coming horrors of the Tribulation and not with a true, repentant heart to want to accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior for the sinners that we all truly are.
Again, you may want to put this article on the shelf in the event that we start to fast approach end time events in our lifetime. This article will make for good debate with other Christians who may not believe in the Rapture.
About the Author
Article written by Michael Bradley of Bible Knowledge Ministries. Their website is a resource of Bible commentary and teaching.
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Copyright © 2005 by Michael Bradley. All Rights Reserved.
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